November 1, 2012

“… Renaissance means “rebirth”, a rebirth of faith in our potential, a belief that what we do matters. For cultures, as for individuals, when we reach out courageously to express our ideals, our lives blossom into new possibilities.” – Diane Dreher, Your Personal Renaissance

Turnips under decomposing leaves, one of 12 mind-bending courses at very rare, one-night-only dinner with Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson and Chef Daniel Patterson at Coi (see "On the Town")

As this goes out, I am flying to Hawaii for the first half of November – this time, the Big Island and Maui, last year it was Oahu and Kauai. I’m longing for island breezes, volcano viewing, helicopter rides, relaxing on the beach with a good book, and of course, exploring more food and drink on those magical islands. I’ll return for Autumnal Wine Country exploits at the second annual Flavor! Napa, Napa’s multi-day food and wine event, checking it out for the first time.

The LatestSushi Time: Two new sushi spots combine elements like reggae and bananas, or present artful displays of sashimi draped over twigs.

On the TownCoi Meets Faviken: The most buzzed about chef this year, Magnus Nilsson, came all the way from Sweden cooking only two nights in the US: one in Charleston and one here in SF with Chef Daniel Patterson at Coi. Photos of these one-of-a-kind dishes (like the one to the right) follow.

The joys of Chicago's The Aviary (see "Wandering Traveler")

Top TastesTruffle Tour: From chocolate bars to luxurious truffles, a global hunt for the best chocolates leads to a wide array of discoveries both at home and abroad.

Top Tastes, part two – Three Affordable Japanese Meals: Three new, affordable Japanese restaurants… that are not sushi or izakayas.

Wandering TravelerChicago Cocktails: Returning to the Windy City, six newer cocktail bars stand out in a scene quite changed since I last visited three years ago.

I’d love your feedback on any spots visited from my site. As your personal concierge who tells it to you like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).

Let me guide you to the perfect spot,


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Recent entries in my Bay Guardian column:
One Fish, Two Fish: two brand new sushi restaurants reviewed
Truffle Tour: standout chocolate bars and truffles around the globe
Rum Tales: a primer on rum categories, styles, and cocktails
Highlights from WhiskyFest, SF’s first Craft Spirits Carnival, and a new navy strength gin
Soda Fountain Revival

Japanese Within Reach: three new spots that aren’t sushi or izakayas
Portland Cocktailing

**Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Virginia Miller**